Tag Archives: Kedoshim

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim

This week we observed Yom haZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut- [Israeli] Remembrance Day and [Israel] Independence Day.  These two days are modern observances, introduced to us with the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

Future Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion announced the establishment of the State of Israel on the 5th of Iyar, which corresponded to May 14, 1948.


A
s soon as the fledgeling country Israel was established its neighbours declared war, hoping to annihilate it. Over six thousand young men and women died, defending their rights to a Jewish State.  Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) is observed the day before Israel Independence Day to honour and remember those who lost their lives defending the barely formed country.

When I looked at this week’s Torah portions I was struck by their names.

Acharei Mot by Laya Crust
Kedoshim sig
Kedoshim by Laya Crust

The names of these two neighbouring parshiot perfectly describe our two holidays.  אחרי מות “Acharei Mot” means “After the Death”, and קדושים “Kedoshim” means “Holinesses” – or “You Shall be Holy”. The titles given to the Torah readings remind us the sequence of events: the people who have died since 1948 defending Israel’s right to exist, and our responsibility to cultivate Israel, celebrate and experience Israel, and ultimately to live in Israel, our country.

The readings this week are lists and lists of laws dictated by Gd. Many of the rules are followed by the words “I am the Lord” or “I am the Lord your Gd”. Nestled among guidelines concerning ownership, business practice, sacrifices, sexual behaviour, and harvesting are laws concerning relationships. We read the command, “…you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord your Gd.” (Leviticus 18:19) This is a command- not a suggestion.

In these bizarre and frightening times, in the days where the world is swept by Covid-19 this statement is deeply profound. Surrounded by people who may be infected, who are isolated, who are depressed, who have lost their jobs, or worse, who have lost loved ones, these words and this law is important to integrate into our minds and our lives. Gd is telling we cannot take care only of ourselves. We must not ignore those suffering around us. Gd is making the demand that “…you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord your Gd.”

There is evidence of that happening. Health care workers, food producers, phone “buddies”, and volunteers.are loving their neighbours as themselves. Researchers are forging ahead trying to find a cure and are sharing their findings. Following Gd’s demand, we will pull through. If we remember the words now and after the pandemic has passed the world will be a better place.

May your week be safe, healthy, giving, and generous. Shabbat Shalom, Laya

Happy 72nd Birthday, Israel, and many many more!  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Hazikaron

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From Pain to Exaltation

We recently finished observing the eight day holiday of Pesach, a time when we remember the wretchedness of slavery and the subsequent joy of freedom. Pesach was quickly followed by Yom haShoah, a day of memory for victims of the Holocaust. Now, one week later we are observing Yom haZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut.

These two last days are right beside each other. This year, 2016, Yom haZikaron is on Wednesday May 11 and Yom Ha’Atzmaut is on Thursday May 12. These two days are modern observances, introduced to us with the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

Future Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion announced the founding of the State of Israel on  the 5th of Iyar, which corresponded to May 14, 1948.


A
s soon as the fledgling country was established its neighbours declared war, hoping to annihilate it. Over six thousand young men and women died, defending their rights to a Jewish State.  Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) is observed the day before Israel Independence Day to honour and remember those who lost their lives defending the barely formed country.

Unfortunately the fighting has never ended. There have been too many wars against Israel and the fighting has never stopped. Each year more lives are lost, more Israeli soldiers killed defending their neighbours and fellow Israelis. Each year innocent Israeli civilians are killed by enemies who want to destroy our beautiful Israeli homeland. We remember these wonderful people and honour them, knowing that they would want us to continue celebrating Israel’s accomplishments and victories.

I looked at the Torah portions we read during these weeks. I was struck by the names of the portions we read the week before and after Israeli Memorial Day and Israeli Independence Day.

Acharei Mot sigKedoshim sig

The names of these two neighbouring parshiot describe our two holidays perfectly  .  אחרי מות “Acharei Mot” means “After the Death”, and קדושים “Kedoshim” means “Holinesses” – or “You Shall be Holy”. Even the titles given to the Torah readings remind us of the modern country of Israel. We are reminded of the people who have died since 1948 defending our right to exist, and our responsibility to cultivate Israel, celebrate and experience Israel, and ultimately to live in Israel, our country.

Below you can watch the incredible acroyoga flashmob “dance ” by the amazing Israeli choreographer Ofir Gothilf. It took place in Tel Aviv’s HaBima Square a couple of months ago. The love of life is so wonderful!!!!

Happy 68th  Birthday, Israel, and many many more!  Love, Laya!

(Below, links about Yom HaZikaron)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Hazikaron

http://www.aish.com/h/imd/

 

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Kedoshim

Kedoshim sig

Amos 9: 7-15

Amos (prophet) died c.745 BCE. He was a shepherd in Tekoa in Judea where he prophesied from 765 to 750 B.C.E.

We have just finished celebrating the memorable holiday of Pesach- that holiday devoted to remembering how God liberated us from slavery in ancient Egypt. It is fitting that we begin our post-Pesach readings with parshat “Kedoshim”. In “Kedoshim” God first reviews the ten commandments. He continues by telling b’nei Yisrael (the children of Israel) how He will punish them if they stray from the commandments.   The parsha ends with God telling the Israelites that they shall be holy- that God has set them apart from the other nations.

In our haftarah Amos tells the Jews that God treasures and judges all peoples. Amos tells them that the Jews are not the only nations that God has saved or punished. The Cush (Ethiopians), Philistines (Europeans) and Arameans (Asians) are all mentioned as having been saved from their captors. Amos continues by warning the Jews that they will be punished for their sins. Amos’ prophecy ends by foreseeing the time when God will “reestablish the fallen tabernacle of David”. He tells them that the children of Israel will plant vineyards and drink their wine, and the hills will wave with grain. The haftarah ends with the words, “And I will plant them on their soil, nevermore to be uprooted.”

What a wonderful phrase!

The image of the Jew in Israel among the orchards and the waving wheat inspired this haftarah’s image. I chose to model my painting on a photograph of a “chalutz” (pioneer) in the Jezreel Valley. The photograph, taken by Shmuel Joseph Zweig in 1946, is a perfect illustration- proof, even- of God’s promise to us, His people. We are back in Eretz Yisrael, our land, tilling the fields and surrounded by its bounty.

We are blessed to be witness to the realization of Amos’ prophecy. As we said at the seder, “Next year in Jerusalem.” And continuing with this haftarah’s conclusion, “Nevermore to be uprooted from the soil I have given them- said the Lord your God.”

If you click on the image at the top of the page it will enlarge. If you enjoyed this post share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, and share it with your students at school and your family around the table.

Have a wonderful Shabbat.

 

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